by Cheryl Carpinello
In this installment of my self-publishing blog, I am comparing the pre-publication process from my first book Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend published with Outskirts Press with that of my second book, Young Knights of the Round Table: The King's Ransom which will be published by e-publisher MuseItUp Publishing of Canada.
Muse just celebrated their first birthday. They publish all types of fiction in their main format: e-book. Several e-books are also later published in print form. Currently, Muse has 239 e-books available for sale. Sixteen e-books are scheduled for release in January 2012.
Young Knights will come out in an e-book in May 2012. Then, because it is a "tween" book, it will also come out in print a bit later. No date as of this time. Muse will also publish a free .pdf Study Guide to accompany the book. I provide the material for this study guide.
Clearly, the nicest aspect of publishing with the Muse is that I do not pay any publishing costs. My budget greatly appreciates that. Being a new publishing house, Muse does not offer an advance to its authors. To be honest, I was so excited to have Young Knights accepted that this didn't bother me. In fact, I have learned enough about the publishing industry to realize that the advance is just another word for loan. I know that what I don't make up in sales, I could be asked to repay.
Young Knights was accepted in July 2011. The third week of August, I received my first round of content edits from my Muse editor. I worked for three weeks reading, deleting, and adding. My editor was thorough, and I felt like one of my high school students when I would return their research paper for a rewrite!
The second round of edits arrived the middle of October 2011. While there were still sections that needed attention, the number of corrections were significantly less.
It is important to understand that my editor and I worked together on both edits. At no time did I feel pressured to accept her changes and suggestions. Some times I did not make the suggested changes and explained why. Other times, I or she asked for clarification before making changes/additions.
Working with my content editor was an enjoyable learning opportunity. I did my own editing on Guinevere along with an early one-time edit by a freelancer. Working back and forth with the Muse's editor allowed me to view my manuscript differently than I had done before, and than I viewed Guinevere. A plus for working with a publisher.
As a writer of middle grade adventure books focusing on reaching reluctant readers and an English teacher, I understand the necessity of making a book attractive to readers who find other activities calling their names louder. One of these ways is adding a picture at the beginning of each chapter. I still marvel that, even at the high school level, students still judge a book based on two criteria: number of pages and if there are any pictures. And, for the more reluctant reader: the shorter the book the better—the more pictures included, the less pages there are to read.
Guineverehas a picture opposite the first page of each chapter. Nothing elaborate, just simple pencil drawings to stir an imagination and, hopefully, interest. As of now, the pictures I have done for Young Knights will not appear in the e-book. I am disappointed but understand the cost and time involved. I am hoping to be able to include the pictures in the print book.
I have submitted my cover to the Muse. So far I have not heard anything. Don't know how this will go. I'll keep you advised.
This should be another positive for my publisher as they market along with me. Still means I'll be doing a lot of marketing on my own, but I'm okay with that. I have learned a lot from marketing Guinevere for the last, almost three years. Outskirts had marketing programs, but they were extra. Muse has its own marketing, and I'll just add my efforts to theirs. Hopefully, our combined work will be productive for all.
For the Future
Before deciding what publishing route to take for my next book, I'll see how Young Knights works with MuseItUp Publishing. For now, Young Knights is at the line editor, while I anxiously await the next step. I'll keep you in the loop.
Cheryl Carpinello is the author of Guinevere: On the Eve of a Legend. Visit her PDB profile here. Visit her website www.beyondtodayeducator.com to learn more about King Arthur and Education. Cheryl reviews children's books on her blog at CarpinellosWritingPages.blogspot.com.